Orlando director Jeremy Seghers brings an eerie new take on ‘Misery’ to Osceola Arts | Arts Stories + Interviews | Orlando

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Picture by Jake Teixeia, courtesy Osceola Arts

‘Misery’ opens at Osceola Arts just in time for Halloween

Contacting all filthy birds. Cue up your Liberace information immediately after your 45 of “The Monster Mash” is above, mainly because if you play your playing cards suitable you are going to be paying Halloween weekend with Annie Wilkes and Paul Sheldon.

Orlando director Jeremy Seghers, well-known domestically for his unconventional staging of the dim things — Dracula in a taxidermy shop, The Bacchae as travel-in theater — is bringing the people of Misery, Stephen King’s chilling meditation on the romantic relationship involving viewers and artist, to everyday living this Halloween weekend. And he’ll be doing it in — gasp — a proper theatrical environment. What gives?

Function Aspects

Very well, let us start out at the starting. King’s novel Distress arrived out in 1987 and created a large sufficient splash to be introduced to daily life on the silver monitor by Rob Reiner in 1990, with James Caan as writer Sheldon and Kathy Bates as obsessed enthusiast Wilkes.

Wilkes rescues Sheldon, her beloved author, after a car incident and begins nursing him back again to health and fitness. But factors go more and more haywire when she finds out that Wilkes has just killed off her favorite character, Distress Chastain, in his newest manuscript. And then items get genuinely dim.

The motion picture was a tense, slow-burning masterstroke, netting Bates an Oscar. Distress would afterwards be adapted for the stage by William Goldman, who had composed the original screenplay, in 2015. Seghers, a dedicated admirer at any time because he “saw the movie way far too younger,” duly manufactured the pilgrimage to the Big Apple to witness this manufacturing.

“I observed the Broadway output with Laurie Metcalf and Bruce Willis,” claims Seghers. “‘I assumed, ‘Wow, it is attainable to do this improper.’ I did not enjoy the performances, automatically, but I did really like the composing. And I liked how it held the rate, even basically much more so than the motion picture it is extremely immediately paced.

“It’s essentially a two-hander with the sheriff who arrives in for a couple scenes. I liked how quickly it moves. The transitions were being truly easy and quick and incredibly cinematic. I believed that I’d love to do this, but remain accurate to what I loved about Kathy Bates’ and James Caan’s interpretation, without the need of making an attempt to replicate it.”

Even nevertheless rights to staging Goldman’s reimagining have been sewn up limited thanks to the use of Liberace’s music (an important component), Seghers commenced idly musing on what he could do with this product.

“I required to forged actors that would deliver one thing to it. That felt as authentic and empathetic and susceptible as Kathy Bates and James Caan. I started composing a wishlist in my head: ‘I could do it like this.’ I commenced daydreaming and imagining, and I went to apply for the legal rights. This was it’s possible 3 or so many years in the past, and the rights were being restricted.”

Ultimately the electronic mail arrived that the engage in was at past out there, Seghers pitched it to his present homebase of Osceola Arts, and right here we are these days, with Seghers and the solid in the very last rounds of rehearsals prior to opening this Friday.

Though the tale is greatest identified in its attribute movie sort, Seghers’ Misery is staged emphatically as a engage in: minimum, bare-bones sets (all in the exact same house) a compact forged of 3 big gamers (some incidental characters in the movie got the ax) an emphasis on the claustrophobic and progressively wracked interactions among the primary figures. Not to point out the occasional bursts of wicked humor that break the practically unbearable pressure as Wilkes unravels.

“If you have an audience that is laughing just one minute and then some thing occurs that’s actually terrifying, it catches them off-guard,” claims Seghers. “And I like horror with a little bit of camp.”

With his prize in hand, Seghers just experienced to come across the ideal actors locally. It did not get prolonged to discover twin qualified prospects in Sarah Lockard and Stephen Lima, also a pair in true daily life.

“I enjoy seeing other individuals be afraid. I will unquestionably be standing in the back of the residence observing the reactions,” guarantees Seghers, “because that delights me a lot more than something.”

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 “Sarah Lockard and Stephen Lima are Orlando theater mainstays,” suggests Seghers. “They’re a few and they’ve never worked jointly. When I commenced contemplating about who I would like to cast, Sarah was the first individual to occur to head. Not just for the reason that we have worked with each other quite a few situations, but for the reason that she is so truly caring and unthreatening. But also very direct. … She’s bodily modest, and Steve is a little little bit even larger. And I wanted this idea, this underlying sensation that Paul could probably consider Annie down if he could just get out of that fucking mattress.”

The dynamic of an precise pair taking part in this fractured and nightmarish vision of a few, in which 1 get together is held hostage and tormented, will make for an intriguing dynamic.

“In Annie’s mind, they are a pair. She is extremely substantially in adore with him. Despite the fact that that like is misplaced,” points out Seghers. “Having an true couple wherever that believe in is currently there is yet another issue to engage in off. … We have a superb struggle director, Bill Warriner, who’s labored with them, but I assume we’d already jumped that hurdle by them becoming so familiar with every other.”

Seghers paints a photo of Lima and Lockard memorizing strains with each other and the tiny solid even performing initial rehearsals at their property, a healthful mirror picture to Sheldon’s and Wilkes’ cabin fever. Rounding out the cast is Jeremy Wood as Sheriff Buster.

For the reason that it is Seghers, there is constantly a little bit of a twist with the staging this time it’s a turntable-model phase in which sets rotate in and out to continue to keep the stream of the action onstage constant. For Seghers it was essential to phase this engage in in a theater room.

“I assumed about doing it in a internet site-precise setting, an genuine property. But I assume it just is so considerably more fluid and it just has so considerably additional electrical power on a stage that can rotate,” suggests Seghers. He also guarantees a handful of additional new tips up his sleeve. “We use some unique results and some factors that I have under no circumstances employed ahead of. There’s hearth, there is pyrotechnics and there is tons of blood.”

And if you transpire to sense a shadowy presence in your periphery through the enjoy, never worry, it’s just Seghers.

“I appreciate observing other individuals be afraid. I will surely be standing in the back again of the home looking at the reactions,” promises Seghers, “because that delights me more than anything.”